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What I Think About .. the Argentina World Cup team

They are cheaters.  Plain and simple.  They are also certainly the most talented team in the 2010 World Cup tournament, and the (IMHO) favorites to win as of today, the completion of the Round of 16.  But they cheat.  They dive, they fake, they deceive, and they whine to the referee. Their conduct sullies the game I love.

It starts at the top. Diego Maradona, among the greatest players ever, is an unabashed and unapologetic cheater. He also seems to be an excellent coach, given the results so far. I am most impressed with how he has (in the mold of Jose Mourinho), put the focus on himself and taken the focus off of the players, allowing them to shine. But there is a culture of cheating on the team. Lionel Messi falls dramatically when a defender breathes to hard on him. Gabriel Heinze is a thug, far more so playing for Argentina

I write this post because of the Carlos Tevez offside goal against Mexico (28-Jun-2010, World Cup Round of 16). A blown call is one thing.  But Tevez knew he was offside, but he still celebrated, and encouraged his teammates to do so, in a deliberate (and successful) attempt to con the referee.

The sporting thing for the Argentines to do would have been to put one in their own net, or to allow the Mexicans to score a freebie.  But that wasn’t going to happen, because the Argentines view a successful cheat as a victory.

BTW — soccer fans of the world seem to agree with me.

Note: Princeton Ethicist Peter Singer wrote a column about cheating in sport focusing primarily on German goalie Manuel Neuer.

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